COLOMBIA

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COLOMBIA
CARTAGENA
the alpaca rally
2016
The Alpaca Rally - Stage 1:
COLOMBIA
Cartagena to Quito
QUITO
Greetings from ROARR!
Here is another little morsel of interest to pore over during your afternoon tea - a little taster of stage 1 of our
South American odyssey, The Alpaca Rally.
For many of you well travelled and worldly people, Colombia still remains an undiscovered little corner of our
planet. And that is a travesty that must be righted! As perceptions slowly change and the world becomes increasingly aware of just how beautiful Colombia is and the realisation that, actually, it’s pretty safe, it’s only a matter
of time before tourism takes off. Where else on earth can you be walking pristine deserted palm lined beaches,
and 40 minutes drive later be lying in a hammock at 3000ft suspended above rainforest canopy, with
snow-capped peaks dotting the horizon? And this is only day 1.
Continuing south criss-crossing the mountains of central Colombia and emerging into the ‘Coffee Triangle’ some
days later, it is at times disconcerting to see the landscape change so dramatically so quickly. You, the ROARR
family, are drawn to that which hasn’t been done, that which hasn’t been seen. The allure of the unknown is
what keeps us on the road and out of the cruise ships. We are enamoured with Colombia; the driving, the
people, the atmosphere, the contrasts, and trust that you will be too.
All the best,
Conrad & Adrian
COLOMBIA
The Alpaca Rally - Stage 1: Cartagena to Quito
MUD VOLCANO
OLD TOWN, CARTAGENA
Cartagena may well be the most beautiful city
in all of South America. Our hotel is within the
old city walls just down the road from where
this picture was taken. Every colour under the
sun, with narrow streets crammed with cafes
and shady squares.
A bizarre creation to say the least. Nonetheless oddly pleasant to wallow in this muddy
crater protruding out of the ground. After a
mud massage you are escorted to the river
where a team of women strip you naked
and wash the mud off you. It’s all very
above-board, in case you were wondering
240km / 5h00
Minca
Ecohabs Minca
Cartagena
TAYRONA & MINCA
Bastion Boutique Hotel
FERRY CROSSING
Pristine beach backed my
mountains. We stay in Minca in
the Sierra Nevada foothills, in
little huts perched above the
tree canopy, snow-capped
peaks dotting the horizon.
350km / 6h00
We’re driving in but ferrying out. Duration anything from 45 minutes to 3 days. Some may
remember the farcical experiences we had here on
the route survey - marooned for 8 hours on a
broken ferry. It is quite an experience, crammed
cheek by jowl on a bit of floating sheet metal that
appears cobbled together from odds and ends, the
control deck something out of the 1800’s.
Mompox
240km / 7h00
Bioma Boutique Hotel
The town that time forgot....
Monteria
Hotel Cinco
MEDELLIN
Quite remarkable - what was once the most
dangerous city in the world is now crowned one of
the most innovative cities in the world, the proud
owner of a pioneering overground metro system
and networks of cable cars connecting the poorest
districts, a hub for art and design, Botero statues
grace many a square. It has completely
transformed. It is a fascinating place. Highly
recommend taking an organised walking tour of
the city - it will send chills down your spine and
allow you to fully appreciate just how drastically
Medellin has changed
THE ESCOBAR RANCH
Medellin
Only in Colombia can the sprawling estate
of the most notorious drug baron in the
world be turned into a kids amusement
park - Pablo’s first smuggling plane proudly
400km / 8h00 sat atop the ranch’s gates. Driving along the
road and through Doradal and the dirt
tracks around his estate (which are all open
to the public) one can’t help but feel a
certain fascination with the fact that Pablo
himself would have travelled down this
very road countless times.
Charlee Design Hotel
Cañon del Rio Claro
170km / 3h00
Reserva del Rio Claro
380km / 8h00
GUATAPE & EL PENOL
A short detour off the road from
Medellin lies Guatape, a network of
waterways where the wealthy come
to live
Pereira
Hacienda San Jose
EPIC ROAD
Honda to Manizales, starting out in
steamy rainforest and climbing
sharply up into the Nevado del Ruiz.
We reach the highest point on the
Colombian stage here @ 3800m.
SALENTO & VALLE DE COCORA
Visit the Cocora valley and its 60 metre high wax
palms. We’ve got 2 nights in Pereira so plenty for
discovering this delightful area. Nearby Salento is
a charming little town with a slow pace of life you can visit a working coffee factory and while
away the afternoon.
COFFEE TRIANGLE
This whole area is incredibly lush
and filled with coffee plantations
330km / 6h00
TOUGH SECTION
Popayan
Dann Monasterio
140km / 4h00
Short but hard. When we drove this it was
raining heavily and the muddy little track
through the mountain fog was pockmarked
with potholes. Not a JCB in site so not likely
to be improved upon this side of eternity.
San Agustin
Akawanka Lodge
290km / 7h30
Pasto
Loft Hotel
LAS LAJAS
CATHEDRAL
THE MOCOA DEATH ROAD
No, you’re not going to die. Well…probably
not. You’re gonna want to take this slow
though, not sure how much I trust the
intermittent guard rails. This is 80% unpaved
and the toughest drive of the rally.
330km / 7h00
Quito
Casa Gangotena
STAGE 2: Quito to Mancora
STAGE 3: Mancora to Lima
The trails around Cotopaxi
Next up in the Alpaca Rally trilogy:
Stage 2 - Quito to Mancora
ECUADOR
ROARRallies
roarr.me/alpacarally
(t): 0203 7474 607
(e): [email protected]
70 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1XF

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